Monday, May 10, 2010

Rest in Peace, Mister Frazetta

Just moments ago on Grognardia I learned of the passing of Frank Frazetta. As a professional illustrator and a fan of fantasy art, this is a significant event to me, and so I'll add to the doubtless soon to be huge welling of regret.

The man's work was, to use an inadequate phrase, amazing. Whatever the medium, be it oils, pen and ink, pencil, sculpture, he was one of those lucky artists who's more like a spigot through which the crackling energy of the universe pours onto the page or canvas. There was nothing mannered or affected about his art, it was all honest and glorious, power backed up with tremendous skill. His artwork is summed up to me in this quote from Robert E. Howard's Conan, with whom Frazetta's art is forever and indelibly bound:

"Let me live deep while I live; let me know the rich juices of red meat and stinging wine on my palate, the hot embrace of white arms, the mad exultation of battle when the blue blades flame and crimson, and I am content. Let teachers and priests and philosophers brood over questions of reality and illusion. I know this: if life is illusion, then I am no less an illusion, and being thus, the illusion is real to me. I live, I burn with life, I love, I slay, and am content."

This is the essence that was mixed in with his paint. This is what came through in his imagery.

I'd heartily recommend checking out Painting With Fire to get more of a picture of what sort of guy Mr. Frazetta was. He was one of the last true masters, and I honor his memory, and take heart in the amazing legacy the man left behind him.

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